Does Coffee Hurt your Kidneys?

With how coffee has become a very common drink for everyone makes it a very good reason to research more about its health benefits and side effects. Scientific studies have been able to explore deeply the numerous impacts that coffee has on various diseases, organs and the body in general.

Coffee is presumed to be first discovered in Ethiopia. This discovery was more than one thousand years ago. And since this discovery, there has been a consistent debate trying to establish either if coffee is bad or good. Trying to imagine coffee being bad in recent times seemed to be very difficult. Although there had been a time in history in which a ban was placed on coffee due to religious or health reasons in some places in the world.


woman in pain due to kidney stone


Various studies about the relationship between kidney disease and Coffee

An epidemiological research that was centered on population was able to establish that there exists a relationship between the kidney and coffee. This research was able to establish that the relationship is one that is beneficial to the kidney because consuming coffee serves to protect the kidney.

A Korean research was conducted on over 2,600 women and was able to establish that drinking coffee helps to reduce the danger of kidney disease. This lowered risk is also applicable to women that are diabetic. Although these types of population-based research are not substantially reliable especially for the field of medicine. Hence, it not substantial enough to arrive at a definite conclusion due to the relevant probably debated nature of the subject.

In 2016, a more detailed statistical research analysis was conducted by merging various scientific studies in a bid to answer this very question of relationship between coffee and the kidney. This combined analysis of multiple researches was able to establish that the male subjects of the research did not show any relationship between drinking coffee and reduced kidney disease risk.

While for women on the other hand the analysis was able to establish that a possible reduced risk can be found when women consume coffee. This was able to conclusively establish that drinking coffee has benefits for the kidney of women but for men it was just plain harmless with no specific benefits.

Another set of research conducted in an entirely different location which happens to be Nicaragua’s pacific coast had a similar result to that obtained previously. The research outcome was one that made known about severe kidney disease was not as occurring in the villages where coffee is grown.

All these researches were able to establish the lower prevalence of kidney disease with the consumption of coffee. But the major activity that causes this specific advantage is still quite unclear. Although continuous studies are ongoing to find the specific cause of this properties with assumptions associating it with the antioxidant present in coffee.


Coffee and Genetic Kidney Disease

Although prior researches of humans with polycystic kidney disease have been able to establish that caffeine is a major risk factor for promoting cyst enlargement in autosomal foremost polycystic kidney disease (PKD) patients. But more recent studies have been able to establish otherwise. Rather drinking coffee does not put patient at risk.


Danger of having Kidney Stones

Even with an inverse association of caffeine consumption with lower risk of nephrolithiasis.

Caffeine consumption has proven to increase urinary calcium excretion. And an increase in calcium is a potential cause of the most common type of kidney stone (calcium oxalate stone). This hereby point every accusing finger to coffee as the culprit.

Patients with calcium oxalate stones are urged to moderate their intake of caffeine induced beverages. Various clinical studies have been able to help these patients prevent kidney stones by limiting coffee consumption.


Danger of having Kidney Cancer

Cases of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) were found to have an inverse relationship with caffeinated coffee consumption. Caffeinated coffee reduces the risk of RCC. But there are mixed findings to this, as data regarding decaffeinated coffee showed an aggressive increase in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC). The overall point is the fact that caffeine is a potential risk factor for kidney cancer. This risk factor can only be eliminated when further research on the connection between coffee and kidney cancer has been conducted.


The relationship of Coffee with Hypertension, and Kidney Disease

Hypertension and kidney disease have a Siamese relationship because kidney disease is caused by high blood pressure. And it is second largest causative agent after diabetes. Coffee consumption may not increase the risk of kidney disease, that is, if intake doesn’t exceed 3 to 4 cups, with correct measurement.

But with a link between the heart and kidney and a study prove that after diabetes, the next biggest cause of kidney disease is high blood pressure. There is a need to understand this interdependency link.

An increase in blood pressure often weakens and damages the blood vessels in the body including the ones associated with the kidney. Thereby causing kidney disease.

Researchers have shown that a moderate increase in blood pressure may occur due to caffeine intake. This is found to be especially true in frequent consumers of coffee and patients with a history of high blood pressure.


Decaffeinated Coffee and Hypertension

Coffee with about 500 mg of caffeine may increase blood pressure for a few hours, compared to a decaffeinated coffee.

Even coffee drinkers who do not include caffeine in their coffee may cling on to this research. There is other research contrary to this idea.

In other coffee studies, it is discovered that regardless of the caffeine intake, coffee is likely to raise the blood pressure.

This idea springs up a debate whether or not there is something else apart from caffeine in coffee that affects the blood pressure.


The Bottom Line

From all evidence and research available, coffee causing hypertension is a possibility but not a definite cause of kidney disease. The potential risk is only particular for patients with oxalate calcium stone to ensure they regulate the calcium they consume by regulating coffee consumption.

Ideas about coffee linking to a direct cause for high blood pressure and kidney diseases still remain controversial as there is still evidence that has proven otherwise. So also, is caffeinated coffee with no significant evidence it may cause kidney cancer, but decaffeinated coffee does have scientific backing and facts.

On this note, we are left to rely on possible future research that may clear the controversy and shed more light on the association of coffee and genetic kidney diseases.


Also read:

Does Coffee Cause Kidney Stones?

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